In 2024, Russia will finally be able to conduct test flights of its first significant strategic heavy bomber in more than 40 years.
Moscow held a competition in 2009 to create a new long-range bomber, which is when the PAK-DA programme was launched. The winning entry was created by Tupolev, a Moscow-based aircraft design company with history dating back to the First World War.
The entire Russian “fleet” of heavy bombers, including the Tu -95 bombers (NATO codename: “Bear”), Tu-22M3 (“Backfire”), and Tu -160, were designed by Tupolev (“Blackjack”). But today, all three of the bombers, which span from the 1960s to the 1980s, are outmoded, antiquated models. The B-2 Spirit, an American stealth bomber first flown in 1988, has no analogue in Russia. A multi-role bomber with stealth technology, the B-2 Spirit can carry both conventional and nuclear bombs. The B-2 Spirit uses second-generation stealth technology to get through dense air defence barriers without formerly unconquerable fighters.
The PAK-DA, according to Aviation Week & Space Technology, is designed to get ahead of the B-2 Spirit and compete head-to-head with the upcoming B-21 Raider. It will weigh 145 tons at takeoff with a weapons payload of up to 30-40 tons while the B-21 Raider is about 15 tons. This relatively large payload capacity may be why Russian military officials claim their new bomber will “beyond” the capabilities of the B-21 Raider.
In comparison to the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, which has a range of only 6,600 nautical miles, the PAK-DA will have a 9,300 nautical mile range. Few aerial refuelling aircraft are available in Russia to assist long-range missions, which necessitate a sufficient range to enable non-refueling returns to Russia, where the bombers can be equipped. Meanwhile, U.S. bombers might get more assistance from tankers on lengthy flights, allowing planners to give payload priority over fuel.
Russian officials intend to install 12 Kh-BD ground-attack cruise missiles aboard the PAK-DA (a super-long-range air attack weapon of the Russian army from outside the combat zone of the enemy air defence system). new. The latest version Kh-101 cruise missile, which may carry a nuclear or conventional warhead, shares the same architecture as the Kh-BD. They will also be able to travel 3,400 miles (approximately 5472 km), the longest cruise missile range in the world, farther than the Kh-101. Due to several stealth qualities designed to lessen their detection, the Kh-101 missiles are believed to have poor visibility and a high failure rate. This demonstrates unequivocally the necessity for a new long-range hypersonic missile, like the Kh-BD, for PAK-DA to be more combat-effective.
Only the US, Russia, and China are able to engage in the race for the strategic heavy bomber, which represents the position of a military power. Therefore, whether or not PAK-DA can be produced in 2027 has drawn particular attention from military circles all around the world.